Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hearings Begin on The Patent Reform Act 2007

Today at 2:00PM, the House Judiciary Committee (link) will hold hearings on H.R. 1908 (“The Patent Reform Act of 2007") . Congress is aware that there is contention regarding the proposed changes, but has indicated that they want to push the legislation through. Lamar Smith (R-Tex) recently stated that he expects some unhappy people, but "if you wait until you have 100 percent agreement, you'll never launch the boat."

People that are scheduled to appear before the committee, and their prepared statements include:

  • Gary L. Griswold, President and Chief Counsel of Intellectual Property 3M Innovative Properties St. Paul Minnesota. Gary will be speaking on behalf of The Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform. Generally, the coalition supports some of the provisions (first-to-file, prior user rights, pleading of willfulness), and wants to modify and/or add other provisions (modifying the cancellation proceeding "windows," redefining prior art, "best mode" reforms, and inequitable conduct). The coalition is against the provisions on reasonable royalties, Markman interlocutory appeals, venue, and expanding rule making authority for the USPTO. To read Gary's testimony, click here.

  • Anthony Peterman, Director, Patent Counsel Dell Incorporated Round Rock, TX. Dell supports most of the provisions, including the "two-window" regime for cancellation proceedings. Additionally, Dell would like to see 35 U.S.C. 271(f) repealed. To read Anthony's testimony, click here.

  • Kevin Sharer, Chairman of the Board and CEO Amgen Incorporated Thousand Oaks, CA. Amgen is opposed to the "second window" for cancellation proceedings that would allow challenges throughout the life of a patent. Also, Amgen is opposed to apportionment of damages. To read Kevin's testimony, click here.

  • John ("Jay") R. Thomas Professor of Law Georgetown University Law Center Washington, D.C. Jay provides a good synopsis on the propriety of apportioned damages, but recommends that Congress clarify between "reasonable royalties" and "lost profits" when calculating damages. To read Jay's testimony, click here.

  • William T. Tucker Executive Director Research and Administration and Technology Transfer University of California Oakland, CA. The university supports many of the provisions in H.R. 1908, but is against the repeal of 271(f) and elimination of "best mode." To read William's testimony, click here.

The hearings will be webcast live over the Internet, and can be viewed here.

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